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PoPCast Episode 01 Transcript

Updated: 2 days ago

Travis: Hello and welcome to the Popcast Reboot.  I am one of your illustrious co hosts, Travis Leech, and I'm joined by the wonderful 

Whitney: Whitney LaRocca.  I'm Whitney LaRocca, and we are both co authors of The Patterns of Power family of resources. So I write mainly for the elementary level. Travis writes mainly for the secondary level.

However, we know the process is the same at every grade level. So we actually get into classrooms. All over the United States at all grade levels. I get into some middle school classrooms from time to time and Travis gets into elementary classroom

s as well. And Travis and I have had a lot of conversations over the years of what we're seeing in classrooms as we've talked with teachers and have seen firsthand.

First of all, the amazing things that are happening with Patterns of Power, and students just really seeing what they can do as writers.  But we all know that the classrooms are not perfect. We know that sometimes there are some pitfalls or little issues that come up from day to day. So really, that's what we want to tackle with the next few episodes of Patterns of Power Popcast series. 

This first episode is going to address a way that we can bring more students on board with the with setting them up for success in the invitational process and to do that we are suggesting so our first episode is going to highlight using a read aloud of a text that we will use a model sentence from in the invitational lesson set to actually read that aloud before getting started.

So, Whitney, I don't know if you want to highlight to start us off what. What that looks like, what that sounds like, or give us an idea of what read aloud means to you, and then I can certainly share my experience with it.  

Sure, and the reason why we want to use read aloud, or at least  get them into the book, not.

Necessarily reading the entire book, but using a chunk of time to read aloud to our students and engage them in conversation is to really set context around the sentence that they will be looking at during the process. I think that's important to us. Sometimes we just go right into it. And without the context, the students that engaged in the sentence.

So I know at the elementary level, they're finding the capital letter and that's it because they don't really have any attachment to that sentence. Because there hasn't been a context set around it. When their context is set, then they are more engaged, uh, to think about, Ooh, what has the writer done to build this work around the sentence for me as a reader?

Right? So I think that's important to know too, why we would do this is to really build, um, context around that. So I know, uh, when I go into classrooms or when I work with teachers thinking about reading aloud, if it's a picture book, We'll often read it aloud, you know, before getting into the process, so maybe not starting the process on Monday, rather using Monday to do the read aloud and not just reading aloud the book.

And that's it. But engaging students in conversations around the text. It doesn't even have to be the entire book. Sometimes it's a nonfiction book, or it's a really long book. So we might read a section of that book, um, to build this contest context, excuse me, and this excitement around the literature, the, the themes, or even the content, um, that we're reading about.

And I want to just give a shout out  to, um, two authors that I love of professional books.  Maria Walther, and then her daughter, actually, co authored a book with her recently, Katie Walther. They wrote this book called A Year for the Books, and it is really about building this community of readers across the year in your classroom, and both at the elementary level and at the secondary level.

And  I have to quote, um, um, for one part that I found in the book around read aloud. Which is it's that was really empowering when thinking about why we take the time to engage in read alouds with our students. And when I say engage in read alouds, yes, we're reading aloud, but we're also inviting them into conversations about the book and even tying it to writing experiences as well.

Right? So Maria and Katie say, When you read aloud to your students and invite them to join in the discussion, you're laying the groundwork for the thinking and internal conversations they will have with themselves as they read on their own. As an added bonus, you are giving them a leg up in becoming a person who knows how to have a meaningful two way conversation. 

And that was just beautifully put into this book called year for the books. I just think that's exactly what we do in our patterns of how our process does this work too, right? We're, we're having these conversations and engaging our students and conversations about authors, purpose and craft by looking at these sentences.

And so. tying back into these conversations that they'll have with each other, but also what they'll have internally as they're reading too. So thank you, Maria and Katie for that quote, which I absolutely love. So when it comes to elementary read alouds, and this can happen at the middle school level as well, but sometimes, I will read just a section or I'll read the blurb on the back, right?

Um, and kind of get them into what this book is about. Uh, sometimes I'll do more of an author origin, like, Oh, you know, we have read another book by this author and look at this book that I found. I think that, uh, we could learn some things from this author. Let's take a look at how he starts chapter seven.

Okay. And really kind of Get them into just teaching them about some writing moves as well as we're engaging them in, in these, these books, not necessarily reading the whole thing. Um, but you certainly can if it's a picture book and you have the time to do that.  But I do think putting time into your day to have these read aloud conversations where you're thinking aloud while you're reading too.

So you're modeling. How, as a reader, I'm thinking about the text where there's also some turn and talks or some stop and jots, some different ways for our students to engage in the text where we're not just reading it to read it, but we're actually doing the work with the text as well. 

Yeah, and at the secondary level, if you wanted to hack into a,  a wealth of resources that already exist online that you could access. 

My entry point into this idea of read alouds came through first chapter Fridays. So that's an easily Google able content space that you can really open up and  get some enhanced understanding around what that looks like. So at the secondary level, initially I used this as an entry to building student engagement in finding choice independent reading.

What's lovely about this is As you pointed out that we are setting up great background knowledge and understanding and in context for students. So what is also great about the read aloud piece, if I could give a little shout out as well, love a year for the books, I would say. Marie and Katie's book is a must read looking at the totality of reading across the school year and how you could build in really effective instructional opportunities.

Love the book for that. I also want to give a shout out to Molly Ness and her book Read Alouds for All Learners because this is a really big aha for me. That the importance of reading aloud to students, especially as we move into the secondary level, I had the misunderstanding that that was an elementary thing.

Where that's not necessarily the case, right? There's a lot of power and impact in structuring reading aloud. Yeah. So, Molly Ness, in her book, Read Alouds for All Learners, says, Before students are fluent, independent readers, listening to an expert reader is the most efficient way to build the knowledge and vocabulary that are crucial to reading comprehension.

It's been found that children listening comprehension exceeds their reading comprehension through the age of about 13 on average. What a powerful instructional opportunity we have to read aloud for our students. So, really a baked in, extra enhanced piece to this work that we are suggesting doing. So, what does that look like? 

To me, if, if I already have, music music Uh, the patterns of power book in my hand, and I already have an idea of a model. I want to use in a lesson that I want to start with my students. I might just move backwards into let me get ahold of the book. So where can we do that? We can check it out from our campus library.

We can grab it from some sort of digital checkout space. we can maybe take a look at the preview on Google books. We can go buy the book. I think there are a lot of ways to access it in an efficient way. And then what I do is I take a look at the first chapter. Is it short enough to read in totality? If so, that's what I'm going to do.

If not, I'm going to read within the first chapter and look for maybe two to four pages that give some background or pretty meaty, maybe engaging for instance, to get them really curious about the story. And I really love what you pointed out, if we're looking at it from an author study perspective that gives us open flexibility to dip into any part of the book, which I love because now we have a lot more flexibility to find content that is going to be engaging for students. 

When I want to go back to what you said about the library, you know, our public libraries are very underutilized  library card. It's free. And now libraries have access digitally as well. So, um, there's so often if you have Libby, or, or.  Yes. Uh, there's so many that have access to the public library where you can get the books digitally as well.

But, and I know my public library, I just go on and reserve the books. I don't even have to go and, and pull them off the shelf myself. They do it for me,  and I can go and pick it up. So I, I feel like the library, our public libraries are very convenient and, um, underutilized. So let's get out there and get some library cards and use our libraries as well.

Um, yes, 

library, PSA. Love it. Oh. 

Yes, but I wanted to think to Travis what you're saying about just getting them engaged into the text.  Also, reading a part and knowing where it's going to go for students really teaches them about foreshadowing and why did the author put this little part in there? I know.

I like to use the book by Jen Bryant, um, six dots, the story of Louis Braille and how he lost his sight at a very young age. And that, you know, that is what took him into creating and inventing this Braille alphabet. There, there's so many tie ins to that. And at the beginning of the book. The focus is very heavily on everything that he sees and that how his eyes are doing all of this work for him, right?

Um, and so then when we go and we look at the actual sentence,  Which is I was a curious child, and my eyes studied everything. The students then start to say, oh, my goodness, this is really kind of a foreshadowing as well. And so we're talking more about not just the grammar components that are in that sentence, but why the author chose to use that specific sentence and the words in that way, too.

So I think it just really enhances the conversations that we have about the sentences when there is context built around them. 

And then we don't get bogged down in all the questions students are going to naturally have if we don't, if we just show them one sentence. Oh, who's this character? What are they thinking?

What's happening next? What happened before? If they have a little bit more context, then we can really dig into the work of the author and how they put these words together and organized it. I love that.  So let's talk about what this looks like in the classroom, a flow that we would suggest.  To support teachers in successfully implementing this in their classroom, we're going to start with a read aloud.

So we have the model we use from the invitation to notice. We are going to first read aloud a section from the text that we are pulling that model from.  How do we get students on board so that they are actually listening to the words that we are reading aloud to them? So a suggestion that we would give is To give students some active listening cues, some questions to think about as we read aloud to them.

So, here is a brief list of questions that you could pose. You could put it up on your whiteboard. You could share it for students to see, give them access to it on their desk. However you do it, as long as they have that visual access. So, what words or sentences or ideas stand out to you? As you listen to the text.

One question.  Another, what are you curious about?  A third, what seems confusing to you?  A fourth, what connection or connections can you make to what you are listening to?  We could use any or all of those and Whitney. Yeah, chime in. Talk to us. Yeah. 

And when students respond to these as they're as they're thinking about it, they don't have to write right.

They can they can draw their thinking as well. So this is just a chance for them to be jotting. While they're listening, whether they're writing or they're or they're drawing some connections or things that they're thinking about for younger students, the active listening piece. I like to really set up for them is really the structure of the book.

Right? So, if it's a narrative, it's if it's a story, we really want to think about that story mountain and how, you know, the narratives and stories, you know, 10 to go, we're introduced to characters, there's going to be a conflict. We're going to pay attention to this. So those are the things that I like to set up, um, for young students just to really get them into the different structures within text that we read.

If it's non fiction, okay, we're really going to think about the heading here, right? And how does the information that we're going to I'm going to read here. Tie back to this heading. This is a very young age, you know, so just to continue to set up text for them  so they know and they get accustomed to, oh, this is a story.

I know that the character is going to have some kind of conflict. I need to pay attention to that. Or, oh, this is nonfiction. I know there's going to be some main ideas here that I need to pay attention to and how the author supports those. Um, so that's a lot of the active listening, like, setup or focus that I give with very younger students.

And then as we walk through, I'll stop and do a think aloud through, through with the focus of that structure, or I'll invite students to turn and talk about a part of that that ties back to that structure. 

That's really smart. I think as we move from the read aloud, the next piece that we would strongly suggest is giving students an opportunity to discuss what they jotted down or what they drew or sketched as they listen.

We want to really step this up as this is not just something we're telling students to do to keep them busy. We want to give them the ability to share their thinking with each other. So we are Building community here. We are helping students to understand how to have that low stakes back and forth communication.

And we want to share that message that we respect your ideas of what you are thinking through that. So an opportunity for discussion makes perfect sense after this. We would suggest doing it right away after the read aloud 

And it's okay to do some of it within the read aloud to to stop and turn and talk right as as you're getting into it.

Okay. Turn and talk. What are what are some things you're thinking about right now? Hold on to those as we continue to read. Um, and then having that discussion again towards the end with young students again. I really like to turn and talk Pretty often to continue to have those 2 way conversations and then coming back and sharing sometimes with me and we're having these class conversations too.

So.  It's important to model that, especially with the younger students of what that looks like,  

and I would also affirm older students as well. Everyone turn and  talk time. Yeah, they're just like, waiting, uh, they can only wait patiently for so long. Right? So, to give them opportunities to speak briefly, and then continue back through it.

I think that really enhances the engagement and connection to the text. So that's really smart. Yeah.  I think the last piece that we want to suggest in this instructional flow. So we've talked about selecting the text. We talked about setting the tone for reading aloud through active listening. We have suggested.

An opportunity for discussion. And then the final piece that we would suggest is an opportunity for students to connect to this read aloud through writing. Whitney, I don't know if you want to talk about what that looks like, what you are envisioning that to be, but I'd love to hear from you. 

Yeah, there's.

There's so many ways to connect this to writing, right? Um, one of the things I like to do is just write long from an idea you have. Here's a thought that I have from the text that we've read so far. This is what I think about it. And it's just kind of brain dumping my thoughts onto paper. Um, that's one way that's very unstructured.

Uh, but just allows this idea that. That's what writing starts off as as a brain dump. And then we can pull ideas from that brain dump to form something more structured. There's another way to do that, too, where it is more structured. Right? So we're going to here is. You know, a topic sentence or here is a theme.

What would you say would support this? Right? And adding the details to support that if we want to do it that way, um, also when thinking just about these reading response prompts type things, those types of things to really get students to start to respond a little bit for younger students. Drawing pictures works.

Just as well. So, you know, what do you think? What do you think the character is going to feel by the end of this? Or if we've read the whole book, show me what the character was like at the beginning. What was the character like at the end? Those types of things as well.  

I love that. So what I'm hearing from you is some comprehension checks and connections to that understanding some prediction.

So we're building in some highly effective instructional routines that are not just related to grammar instruction, which is also important. We're setting kids up for success while also highlighting effective literacy practices  that we're going to be doing in our classroom anyway. 

Not to quote Maria Walther and Katie Walther again, but in a year from the books, you can tell this is like my new favorite book right now, is that everything that you do in your classroom is a literacy event.

Like you have to think about it as a literacy event. It's a chance. Where you're connecting, reading, writing, listening, speaking, everything that you do in your classroom sets them up for the work that they'll do on their own independently. Um, and so all of this, when they're writing, when they're talking, um, when they're listening, we're bringing all of these things together into this literacy event.

And these events are not, like, major events, right? But they're all tied back to literacy. Literacy and literacy is not just reading and it's not just writing. It's not just grammar. It's reading, writing, listening, and speaking that all tie together simultaneously as we learn.  

I think that is, uh, where we leave it. 

So that is, that is our goal for you. Listener is. for us to share some of the great ideas that we have gathered and experienced in the last few years around Patterns of Power. Here's the first one.  If you enjoy it, just wait, there's more on the way. So we look forward to sharing more of these Nuggets of Wisdom with you.

Um, in the coming weeks and we hope you enjoy it.  

Thanks for listening.

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